"New" Year Resolutions

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This year, like so many years, I wasn't in the position to make--and keep--a New Year's Resolution on January 1. Since I was on my honeymoon in Hawai'i for the first eight days of the New Year, you can probably understand that I wasn't particularly motivated to start a new reading/writing/dissertating routine, which my resolutions inevitably revolve around. Other people vow to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise; I usually vow to write and read more, study more, dedicate more time and energy to my passions instead of my job.

I wasn't in a position to make these things daily habits beginning January 1st, though, so I decided to do what I've done the last couple of years--make February 1st resolutions. See, the last couple of years I've decided that January is my catch up month--the time I allow myself to catch up on work, cleaning, and everything else that has to be done after a lengthy holiday season. My life is thrown off balance for much of November and December--all that time off from work, constant traveling, visits to friends and family, made even more chaotic by the fact I used this last break to get married and go on my honeymoon--so I use January to regroup, and then for me the "New Year" starts in February.

This year my resolutions are similar to ones I've made--and abandoned--in the past, but I see every attempt at a resolution as a success. Even if I don't do as much as I set forth to do, I know I'm still doing more than I would have had I not made the resolution at all. With that being said, I've developed some very bad habits since moving to Pennsylvania that I'm using my resolutions to try and break.

First, not enough reading in my life. I think I read maybe four books last fall and spent most of my down time watching way too much television, which, to me, is a total waste of life. So my first resolution (and one that I started back in January) is to read 52 books "for fun" this year--one a week.  These books must fit very specific criteria:

1) I have to read one new YA release a month.
2) I have to read one new literary fiction release a month.
3) I have to read at least six "classics" that I have somehow avoided in all my years of graduate study.

The other 22 books can be anything I want them to be--books that have been sitting on my TBR list for far too long, books recommended by friends, other new releases I want to read, recent award-winners. And of course, I can read more than the 52 as well; that's just a minimum.

So far, I'm right on schedule, although I had to cheat a little bit with the "literary" release. During the past month (and really just during the three weeks since I've been back), I've read these books:

(Released Dec. 27, 2011)
(Released January 10, 2012)
(Released January 20, 2012)
(Released May 2011)

And I'm almost finished reading this:

(Released January 3, 2012)
I realize that right now, even though I'm technically on track, my completed readings have been a bit skewed: Emily the Strange: Piece of Mind, Cinder, and A Million Suns are all YA new releases; Dead Reckoning is neither new nor literary fiction (and in all honesty was started months ago and I just couldn't make myself finish it until now); and Worlds Burn Through, by my wonderful friend Vicki Keire, is technically a novella. So I haven't read a classic yet, although there is plenty of time for that and I have a few I've downloaded free on my Kindle (Bleak House and--shocker--Northanger Abbey and Madame Bovery). Still looking for another three to read, though, so if any of you readers out there have any recommendations about classics I might have missed but have to read, please leave them in the comments.

What I really need, though, are upcoming literary fiction releases that you all are excited about. Big-name authors, small presses, debut novelists--I'm not picky. I know that Kate Morton is releasing a new book at the end of the year and that Barbara Kingsolver's newest will be out this fall, but other than that I'm at a loss as to how to fill that part of the list. 

So what do you guys think? Any reading recommendations?

Just a few of the books in my ever-growing TBR pile. Some of these are really recent, but others have been  sitting on my shelf for years.


Carolyn Kate February 7, 2012 at 12:56 AM  

Read that Flannery O'Conner one or I will have to read it for you! :)

Carolyn Kate February 7, 2012 at 12:59 AM  

Also, I love Northanger Abbey. It has turned into my favorite Jane Austen novel! Much less mature and refined than Pride and Prejudice, true. But really funny. Or I thought it was. I actually laughed out loud (a real lol!) a few times due to Henry Tilney's remarks to others.

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